My blog has been quiet recently as I spent my first summer home in four years! That doesn’t mean our native language documentation and revitalization project has come to a halt this year, though. Donations from friends helped my colleagues Martin Castillo Collado and Mary Carmen Bolivar mentor four itinerant teachers in rural Perú as they learned to use and develop thematic, hands-on activities in their respective schools to integrate children’s native language and culture with academic activities. Participating teachers attended introductory and planning workshops and then spent a day implementing their plans in the classroom under Martin and Mary Carmen’s expert observation. Project results will be reported at the Foundation for Endangered Languages Conference in Quito, Ecuador and at the Symposium on the Teaching and Learning of Indigenous Languages of Latin America, Notre Dame University, Indiana this Fall. Most importantly, the teachers formed a group to continue supporting each other in native language activities in their schools.
The photos to the right show children using traditional Quechua hand measurements to measure their height, recording observations in their native language, bags of beans and potatoes for experiments in estimation, and kids playing at buying and selling. It has been a thrill seeing the activities we envisioned and piloted last summer fleshed out in new contexts.
I’ll be leaving for Bolivia myself in less than three weeks to continue the work there.